The Number/Shape system is very similar to the Number/Rhyme system. As with the Number/Rhyme system it is a very simple and effective way of remembering lists of items in a specific order. It is another example of a peg system.
Mind Tools Mnemonic Grades: Ease of Use - very easy Effectiveness - effective Power - only codes 1-10 items without use of enhancement Learning investment - low Who should use - everyone
How to use the Number/Shape Technique
This technique works by helping you to build up pictures in your mind, in which the numbers are represented by images shaped like the number, and are part of a compound image that also codes the thing to be remembered.
One image scheme is shown below:
1 - Candle, spear, stick 2 - Swan (beak, curved neck, body) 3 - (rotate shape though 90 degrees!) 4 - Sail of a yacht 5 - A meat hook, a sea-horse facing right 6 - A golf club 7 - A cliff edge 8 - An egg timer 9 - A balloon with a string attached, flying freely 0 - A hole
If you find that these images do not attract you or stick in your mind, then change them for something more meaningful to you.
As with the Number/Rhyme scheme, these images should be linked to images representing the things to be remembered. We will use a list of more modern thinkers to illustrate the number/shape system:
1 - Spinoza - a large CANDLE wrapped around with someone's SPINe. 2 - Locke - a SWAN trying to pick a LOCK with its wings 3 - Hume - A HUMan child BREAST feeding. 4 - Berkeley - A SAIL on top of a large hooked and spiked BURR in the LEE of a cliff 5 - Kant - a CAN of spam hanging from a meat HOOK. 6 - Rousseau - a kangaROO SEWing with a GOLF CLUB 7 - Hegel - a crooked trader about to be pushed over a CLIFF, HaGgLing to try to avoid being hurt. 8 - Kierkegaard - a large EGG TIMER containing captain KIRK and a GuARD from the starship enterprise, as time runs out. 9 - Darwin - a BALLOON floating upwards, being blown fAR by the WINd. 10 - Marx - a HOLE with white chalk MARks around it's edge
Try either visualising these images as suggested, or if you do not like them, come up with images of your own.
In some cases these images may be more vivid than those in the number/rhyme scheme, and in other cases you may find the number/rhyme scheme more memorable. There is no reason why you could not mix the most vivid images of each scheme together into your own compound scheme.
See the article on Using Mnemonics More Effectively to see how you can dress up these pictures to help them stay clearly in your mind.
Once you have mastered this technique you can multiply the it using the images described in the article on Expanding Memory Systems.
The Number/Shape technique is a very effective method of remembering lists. Used in conjunction with the Number/Rhyme system it can be used to generate potent images that can help to make well-coded mnemonics extremely effective.
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